Category Archives: Nature

Sights and smells of the great outdoors.

Photo Challenge: Wonder

Spring is on the way!  I marvel, even wonder, at buds swelling on the end of tree branches.

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Photo: TLClark, 3/19/19.

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Photo: TLClark, 3/19/19.

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Photo: TLClark, 3/19/19.

With eyes open and a camera in hand, I found a few other things of wonder in my neighborhood this morning.

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Re-freeze from yesterday’s snow melt. Photo: TLClark, 3/19/19.

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Leaf in snow bank. Photo: TLClark, 3/19/19.

Thanks, Frank, for the photo challenge!

Take a look at fresh fruit

I suggest you ignore this post.  Instead, find a piece of fresh fruit, pick it up, and take a few minutes to consider its surface texture.  While you’re at it, notice how it was attached to the tree or bush or vine or whatever plant on which it grew.

What?  You’re still reading?  Or did you come back?

The other day I noticed a banana on the table.  Its surface is smoother than an orange.  And not quite as smooth as an apple.

The results of my attempts to photograph the banana were dismal.  The orange and the apple pictures were better.  Eating breakfast this morning I decided to try getting decent photos of blueberries and strawberries.

So here you are: pictures of fruit.

Fruit 2M - Apple

Fuji Apple.  Photo: TLClark, Feb 2019.

I’m thinking a whole series of photos of apples would be fun to do.  Different kinds with their different colors.  Use a knife to cut one way to see the star-shaped center with seeds.  Cut the other way – the usual way – for apple slices to eat with peanut butter.  Maybe an apple with a single bite or perhaps many bites.  Maybe just an apple core.

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Navel Orange.  Photo: TLClark, Feb 2019.

I really should have taken a photo of the navel end of the orange!  But I liked seeing the stem; notice how different is is from the apple stem.

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Blueberries.  Photo: TLClark, Feb 2019.

I opted not to highlight the ends of the blueberries once attached to a plant because I’m intrigued by the little star on the other end!

Fruit 2M - Strawberries

Strawberries.  Photo:  TLClark, Feb 2019.

The underside of the leaves of the strawberries are a much brighter green than the top side.  I wonder if that’s always true or just true of this particular crop.

Fruit 2M - fruit bowl

Fruit in Bowl.  TLClark, 2019.

If there were other kinds of fresh fruit in the house – other than an over-ripe banana and some pineapple already cut up – I’d have more pictures.  Guess I need to start next Friday’s grocery list!

 

Another Snowy Sunday

It snowed nine or ten inches between 9 p.m. Saturday and mid-day Sunday.

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Since snow-covered, slippery roads have veto power over (nearly) every voluntary activity, my husband and I missed gathering with other Christians to worship God for the second week in a row.  We’re the type that rarely miss church.  Missing two Sundays in a row is highly uncharacteristic, nearly unthinkable!  God doesn’t mind; but it makes my week feel odd.

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Our driveway Sunday morning after a bit of shoveling on my part an hour or so earlier; before the professionals arrived.

A week ago we held our own little worship service.  We sang a few songs from Taizé, read John’s favorite scripture (Matthew 6:25-31), prayed, and sang some more.

This Sunday we listened to Iowa Public Radio and worked on a puzzle while waiting for our out-of-town weekend guests.  It had just begun snowing when they headed to the hotel late Saturday; we were hoping they’d safely return to our home Sunday.  (They did.)

Whether heading to church or staying home, It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders has become one of my must-listen-to Sunday programs.  Sam and his guests help me hear the week’s news from a perspective outside my every day experience.  It has the feel of chatting with friends and leaves me feeling both encouraged and challenged (much like a good sermon).  I can’t tell you what I heard yesterday but I’m sure it fed my spirit (also like a good sermon).

Be safe, friends, wherever you are whether or not there’s snow on the ground.  And may you hear something today that feeds your spirit.

Teressa

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Crawl

My imagination must have been napping when I read Frank’s photo challenge earlier this week.  Nothing came to mind for the prompt “crawl.”  He had a photo of a snake. Since I’m not a fan of snakes, I knew I wouldn’t go that direction!

An idea crept up on me earlier today.  Crawling through photo file folders, I found a few not-so-creepy-crawlies on flowers.  Bugs don’t creep me out like snakes do.  And most of the bugs that have appeared in my pictures fly as well as crawl.

Here are three photos of Japanese beetles on flowers and one image of damage done.  All were taken in early July 2011 when the beetles invaded our flower beds, voraciously eating their way through foliage.

IMG_1426One Japanese beetle crawling on a single zinnia doesn’t look too destructive.

IMG_1474One cosmos with seven – or more – Japanese beetles doing their thing.

IMG_1488Japanese beetles are certainly crawling all over the marigolds, but are they feasting?

Zinnia foliageShredded leaves tell the tale of the beetles’ visit.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rose

I can’t decide which is more fun when it comes to a photo challenge:  grabbing a camera to take a new picture OR browsing through digital photo files.

Frank Jansen Photography’s photo challenge this week is rose.  I’m sharing three pictures from my files and one from trying to come up with something new.

First, a yellow rose in our yard from a few houses ago.  I think that may have been the only place we lived with roses in flower beds.  That is only because the prior owners had planted them!

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Photo:  TLClark, 5/30/08.

Next up, a rose with an interesting center.  I can’t tell from the series of pictures I took if the rose is in a bouquet or was a single stem.  Nor can I tell you what the occasion was – although it was part way between Christmas and my birthday.

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Photo: TLClark, 1/15/12.

Finally, a rose of another color.  It’s clearly from a bouquet on the dining room table.  The bouquet may have been on the altar at church – but that’s a guess since other photos taken that day are all at the church.

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Photo:  TLClark, 1/22/17.

I wanted to do a new picture for the challenge but there are no roses in the house.  So I started thinking of the word “rose” as the past tense of the verb “rise.”   While baking frozen rolls for supper I couldn’t resist this last picture.  The dough rose before I put it in the oven, then rose more while baking.

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Shelter from the Cold

We have a resident rabbit.  Or maybe it’s a bunny (is there a difference?).  Long ears; fluffy little white tail.  I startled him (her?) the other night when I peered out the window to see how much snow had fallen.

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Rabbit hole (lower left); he lives under the sidewalk leading to our front door. Photo: TLClark, 1/29/19.

With snow on the ground, it’s easy to see where the bunny has been and where he takes shelter.

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Bunny tracks heading to/from shelter.  Photo:  TLClark, 1/29/19.

Record low temperatures and even colder wind chills are in the weather forecast.  We are being advised to take shelter.  Stay out of the wind, out of the cold.  Stay home if possible.

It is not possible, of course, for so many.  Police, firefighters, EMTs.  Doctors, nurses, aides, janitors, cooks, and all who keep a hospital humming.  Road crews.  Utility workers.  Staffs of nursing home, care centers, and homeless shelters.  Those who must go to work or go without pay.  Those who must go to work or face losing their job.

Schools – including universities – are closed.  Some small business owners are opting to shut their doors for a day or more.

Other businesses will be open and are likely to have customers.  Gas stations.  Grocery stores.  Pharmacies.  Medical clinics.  Some (most?) eating establishments.

The Lord will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life.  The Lord will protect you on your journeys – whether going or coming – from now until forever from now.    – Psalm 121:7-8 CEB

Guide us all, O God, with your wisdom that we might make good and sound decisions about our coming and going in dangerous weather.  Shield from harm all who serve to keep others safe.  Amen.

Cabin Fever on Another Snow Day

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Snow drift through the sun room window. Glad for the sun. Not so glad for the wind – except to see the fabulous shapes being sculpted. Photo: TLClark.

My beloved suggested I could write about Cabin Fever.  We’ve reached the age where “better safe than sorry” guides decisions.  We’ve both driven enough miles on snow/ice covered interstates or in gusty cold winds to know that snow/ice covered plus gusty cold winds is a recipe for disaster.  So we’ve rescheduled today’s appointments in Iowa City which were the rescheduled appointments from yesterday.

What to do?

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Photo:  TLClark.

  1. Play games on the computer (seems to have become the default option).
  2. Read a book (another common default option).
  3. Pull out an old fashioned board game or maybe a deck of cards.
  4. Memorize a poem.
  5. Work on the puzzle.
  6. Do some genealogy sleuthing.
  7. Sort those old pictures and get them boxed to mail to someone who will enjoy having them.
  8. Play the piano/keyboard.

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    This puzzle was a challenge the first time around – not sure why we decided to do it again.  Photo:  TLClark.

  9. Watch a movie.
  10. Bake cookies.
  11. Clean the bathrooms.
  12. Clean out a drawer or a closet.
  13. Write a sympathy note or a thinking of you card – with pen and paper.
  14. Be creative in the sewing room.

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    Clockwise from top right:  a) Hand sew the binding on scrappy strip quilt. b) Free motion quilt the butterfly quilt. c) Add sashing to the finished blocks and join them into a quilt top. d) Start an entirely new project using fabric from the bins in the corner.  Photo:  TLClark.

  15. Use the colored pencils to draw something new or color in a coloring book.
  16. Sort, discard or keep, categorize eleven years of digital photos.
  17. Plan another series of blog posts.
  18. Call Mom & Dad or Grandma Mary.
  19. Sort through a box full of old church papers; recycle most of it.
  20. Work on taxes.
  21. _________________________________

What would you add to the list?  What would choose first?